Suddenly, winter…

It’s the 21st of June and the winter solstice here in the southern hemisphere.  Adelaide is putting on a true winter day for us; cold, dark and quite rainy.

Each season brings its own wonderment – different sights, sounds, events, foods and attitudes. But the period from Australia Day on 26 January, until the end of April, is special in Adelaide. It’s the festival season and we spend so much time outdoors.

It was summer

Then it was autumn

Autumn stayed warm, but with cool nights.

Lunch with friends at Oliver’s Taranga vineyard

A perfect autumn celebration of continuous food and wine.  Seriously, we had to tell them to stop!  Delicious flavours and passionate crew hard at work all afternoon.


And then Italy

I was fortunate to travel to Italy again this year to study Italian and travel. I’ve documented some of that trip on my other blog here.


And now winter

It’s time to recharge the batteries.  What’s not to like about baking, stews, soups, winter salads, wooly layers and rainy Sundays with cat snuggles. And a trip to Sydney is on the books.

Winter, I’m ready for you.


A belated wish for 2014


Greetings from my desk, complete with my new fit ball/desk chair.

The year 2014 and I have gotten off to a rocky start. Already we’ve had some ups and downs.

Roo and I arrived home from our marvellous time in Argentina and Chile, documented here, on 30 December after a long flight. Santiago-Auckland-Sydney-Adelaide. That’s 18 hours of actual flying, but about 24 door-to-door. Ouch!

So we didn’t make it till midnight on New Year’s Eve. It was all I could do to watch the fireworks on TV in Sydney, which is of course a half-hour ahead of us here in Adelaide. My head hit the pillow at 11.47 pm and I was out!

The first week back was filled with restocking the house with food after 6 weeks away, doing copious amounts of laundry and generally tidying our personal effects.  As well, I had registered for an intensive 5 day training course (Certificate IV in Training And Assessment) that required me to do some pre-work in the form of watching some training videos and completing some workbook exercises. My computer decided to give me grief as I was starting my pre-work for the course. Stress levels rose! But I sorted it and averted any major computer or personal melt-down. Suffice to say that first week was full.

Week 2 was my intensive course week. From Monday through Friday, 8.30am till, I was in a room with other learners cramming six months of coursework into our five days. This included giving two presentations on which I was judges against a long list of criteria. Because of the compressed time to complete the course there was homework and preparation every night. Half way through the week I started itching. My back felt like I had a spider bite or a bad mosquito bite. However my course did not allow me time to scratch or see a doctor.

My presentations went off without a hitch and I received some feedback that I can use to improve my delivery and my engagement with learners.

Saturday morning I rode my bike to the doctor. One look at my back (and front) and he declared, “Oh, you’ve got shingles”. Great, thanks! My chicken-pox virus from circa 1958 had been percolating along just fine until a point of low immunity when it decided to rear its ugly, red, itchy head.

Meanwhile, on the Friday morning of my course, Speedy the wonder cat was found licking his wounds in the potting shed. He was nowhere to be found when it was time for he and brother Jose to come in the night before. It seems he had a run in with a car, motorcycle or bike. He was limping and had some visible abrasions and a minor cut on one leg. He is a curious and fearless cat, but this has slowed him down for a few days. Roo got him checked at the vet and it seems he’s on life number seven or six of his allocated nine about now…

So that’s where we are now. Fourteen days into the new year and I have gained the qualification I was working for and gotten a disease as a bonus! The cat has had a near-miss but survived another day. The good with the bad.

I do have some hopes for the year. Being healthy is high on the list. Eating well from what each season has to offer is always there. Writing and reading more are also up there. Appreciating the moment, just being, is also high up. And engaging with friends and family and followers, in the myriad of ways and means we have at our disposal, is a goal.

I need a nap. Peace everyone!

My book list – Three and a half so far

I’ve never counted how many books I read in a year. But the other day I realised that I’ve read three already and am on the way to a fourth.

I don’t want the fact that I am making a list to influence how many I ultimately read. Not sure how I’m going to deal with that, but I have a feeling that now that the festival season is on in Adelaide and my Italian class recommences in a week (and of course there’s always the day job at the ‘documentation factory’) my list will grow more slowly.

So here’s the list so far:

Three read:

  • Breath by Tim Winton
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • American Journeys by Don Watson

One in progress:

  • A Cup of Light by Nicole Mones

Stay tuned for updates…

My 2010 reading list

I have a friend who set herself a goal of 100 books in one year.  I don’t even try to read that many, and never manage to finish everything that I start. Some are meant to be dipped into and not read cover to cover, like the BKS Iyengar classic, An Illustrated Light on Yoga.  Hence, a few books sit on the night-stand  for quite a while and cross over a year or so.

This year is no different. Add full-time work (where, let’s face it, I read and write all day) some of the blogs that I read regularly and my 10 weeks in Italy into the mix and I can see why I didn’t have enough time for pleasure reading.

Some of the books I read or started, and mostly finished, are shown below. I enjoyed them all for wildly different reasons (made me laugh, made me think, took me far away, made me smile at the sheer beauty of the writing, made me more aware).

The night-stand reading list in 2010

Some I re-read, like The Phantom Tollbooth. Two are unfinished, The Songlines and The Sea. I put them aside when heading overseas and concentrated on my Lonely Planet Italy Guide and my notebooks for my classes while studying Italian. I took the dog-eared Anatomy of Restlessness (compilation of Bruce Chatwin stories, reviews and articles) with me for flights. But I don’t really read much on holidays when I go away. Home holidays are better for that.

There is a new list on the night-stand now. My list for the remaining days of this year and for 2011.  I’ll report back next year on how well I go (and try to not get too distracted by other books throughout the year). Happy reading friends

To finish or read in 2011

The year that was – 2009

Well, 2009 went off without too many personal dramas.  I was fortunate  enough to go with Andrew to South America for 5 and a half weeks. From Late march till the end of May.  We were blessed with great weather everywhere we went which made trekking around very comfortable. I reunited with a travel companion from 30 years ago, Amalia Solari Faerman and met her funny husband Gustavo and their 3 grown children in Buenos Aires.  I really loved South America and long to return to see a bit more…That trip has been heavily chronicled in earlier posts.

My work with the IPED National Editors Conference finished in October when we presented a fantastic conference here in Adelaide. Visit the site.  I wrote most of the ‘News’ section:

On the work front we both had enough to keep us going and I made a weak attempt at reducing my hours to 9, rather than 10 days a fortnight.  It only lasted a few months and now I am back to full time.  Work is challenging due to the departure of a boss who had the technical skills to take me through this particular project I am working on. We are getting through the work, just more slowly than expected.

In the household we have enjoyed our two ginger tabby brother cats antics, especially the precocious Speedy! He and Jose are so fun to watch and at 2 years old still have heaps of kitten in them.

We are just about finished a minor renovation that opened a few rooms up, re-purposed a few and gave us a new kitchen.  There is still some painting and tiling to do and a tidy-up of the office, but these things take time.

On a literary note I read quite a few books this year including Cloud Atlas, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, The Time Traveler’s Wife,  The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Dear Fatty, the Power of One and probably more…currently just about to finish A Secret History, by Donna Tartt. Not a bad year, but I have other books on the go and stacks on the bedside table and bookshelves waiting to be read.

I attempted NaNoWriMo but was not really successful! See previous posts.

Musically, we saw a few live performances, notably Ry Cooder and Nick Lowe at the Festival Centre here in Adelaide, a Joni Mitchell Tribute at the Sydney Opera House, Leonard Cohen at a winery in McLaren Vale, near Adelaide, and of course Neil Young at the Big Day Out in Adelaide. (Next year we are already looking forward to seeing Ravi Shankar at WOMADELAIDE –

The goals for the new year will include those post-reno tasks, more reading and writing and a commitment to getting rid of stuff.  Here’s to more free time in the new year!

Life of a part-time blogger

The stats are in — I am officially a very part-time blogger.

Just what have I been up to since March 08 when last I tapped these tiny keys?

Changing jobs, twice; writing PR articles for the IPEd (Institute of Professional Editors) conference next October (2 of 4 articles here:; travelling to Perth for merger related work; discovering new winter recipes to warm the house (braised pork chops with grated apple, leeks and apple juice); going to the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market; reading books (The Book Thief, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, A New Earth, 13 ways of looking at the novel, The Inheritance of Loss, Dirt Music and more I can’t recall); loading photos on my Flickr site (; watching my cats grow; going to the gym; working at a day job 40+ hours a week; following the election in the USA.

So what does this mean for my blogging future?  Ah, that is to be seen.  But now I have a publicity article to write…

Eating alone, finishing a book, changing jobs

Well, I am off to Canberra for business this week. That means eating alone and getting lots of reading done. I have a book to finish, The Way the Crow Flies by Canadian writer Ann-Marie MacDonald. It’s just over 700 pages long and I am 6/7ths of the way there! I read a previous book of hers called Fall on your Knees and it was a rollicking family saga as well.

This will be my last Canberra trip for the Credit Union as I am moving on. My contract is not finished but I have been offered another at almost 3 times the money with the possibility of 2 years of work. At the moment I have nearly completed two years with the Credit Union. That seems to be about the average for a 3-6 month initial contract!